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Jefferson job goes to Mills

June 03, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - As the saying goes, two out of three isn't bad.

The Jefferson County Board of Education filled two coaching positions at Jefferson High School at its recent meeting.

Richard Mills will take over the Cougars football program, while Jamie Harris was named the new wrestling coach. The board had planned to announce its new boys basketball coach but shelved those plans until its next meeting in two weeks.

Mills is a 26-year veteran of coaching and teaching. He spent 24 years as coach at Shepherdstown Junior High and two years at Shepherdstown Middle. He is a native West Virginian who went to Charles Town High and Shepherd College, and earned his master's from West Virginia University.

Taking over a program that endured an 0-9 season (2-7 on the field, but two wins were forfeited), Mills is extremely excited about his new venture.

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"I wouldn't leave Shepherdstown for any job except this one," said Mills, who plans to continue as physical education teacher and athletic director at Shepherdstown Middle. "Not that I didn't always enjoy it, but I'm revitalized and looking forward to things again."

West Virginia bylaws allow scholastic football programs a three-week practice period in June and Mills said he would take advantage of the opportunity to get together with his future troops for two weeks, beginning June 15.

"Good programs always have something established," Mills said. "They don't change things, they just modify them. We want to get Jefferson football to that point."

Mills, 55, takes over for Donnie Tucker, who left to join the football staff at West Virginia University. Prior to that, Jefferson was coached for 18 years by Jay Kirby.

Mills was successful in his coaching time at Shepherdstown and said the biggest difference at the varsity level is simple.

"Football is football with the skills on the varsity level," he said. "The difference in high school is the size and speed of the game. Football is not for everyone. We want to have people that are willing to dedicate themselves. It is strenuous, but football can teach you so many things."

Mills' debut will be spent away from home. The Cougars play their first four games on the road, according to schedules posted on the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Web site.

Jefferson opens Aug. 27 at Hampshire and, after games at Sherando, Potomac Falls and Woodrow Wilson, will play its first game at home under Mills on Sept. 24 against University.

Harris, who replaces Chad Billy, has coached wrestling as an assistant for 10 years.

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